capital punishment by DocDoyle


									John Doyle Ethics 215w Capital Punishment The issue of capital punishment is one that has been in discussion for many years. How can anyone control the life of another human being? The accused may have taken the life of another citizen but what gives anyone the right to take his. This is the main point of the question but it gets vastly more complicated as the issue is further investigated. For instance, the psychopath who goes on a murderous rampage might have an abnormality with the frontal lobe of the cortex in his brain. Now, if this is the case this person may not be able to control his murderous impulses. So, should this person be punished, and not only should he or she be punished but should the punishment be done for retribution? After all, most punishment is based on retribution, making sure that the accused gets what he deserves and that those involved see justice. How it is that someone who simply cannot control their impulses be punished for a crime? The punishment will not deter any further crimes. If this abnormality is common amongst murderers then this will not make any other criminals look at what happened and have them stop. It may be hard-wired into their brain. And if capital punishment is done for retribution then how is it fair? The person who committed the crime may not have known any better, but the one who is pulling the switch or injecting the needle defiantly knows better. This is quite the issue and the following discussion will be started by Ernest Van Den Haag. Deterrence is one of the main reasons for using the death penalty. However there is not a lot of data to support this claim. Although it is believed that the death penalty deters more than the fear of imprisonment alone. This here makes it rational to use the death penalty. The death penalty is not meant to be used for revenge, it is meant to punish the wrong-doer and to show others what might happen to them if they do such an action as murder. Of course there is the old argument that capital punishment legalizes killing. This holds no ground. The person who committed a crime deserves to be punished. But, which punishment is worse, life in prison or death? The criminal sentenced to death most likely


suffers more waiting for his death sentence to be carried out than did the person he murdered. Although this it not positively known. The next part of this discussion will be carried out by Christopher W. Morris. One must first understand what justice is compared to benevolence. The standard distinction is to understand justice to pertain to what individuals are owed, to what they may claim, to what they have a right. (Morris, 273) Benevolence is concerned with the well-being of the accused. Justice is the more important of these two issues. A moral object is that which is receiving the moral consideration and to achieve moral standing is to be owed moral consideration, hence be a direct moral object. “Having moral standing is a relation; something has moral standing in its relation to some other entity(ies).” (Morris, 274) Criminals forfeit their moral standing in civilization. They do pay the same moral consideration to others so the moral consideration to them should be lost. The accused did not respect this social contract and so this should not be respected upon them. The last part of this discussion will be Jeffrey Reiman. The belief is that the death penalty should be abolished. There is a right one may have to punish another for a crime but, there is not a duty to be punished. “The equality and rationality of persons imply that an offender deserves, and his victim has the right to impose on him, suffering equal to that which he imposed on the victim.” (Reiman, 294) Lex Tallionis states “Do unto others as they have done unto you”. This is basically the same as the Golden Rule but put into reverse order. The suffering and punishment of a criminal should be equal to that which was done. The original question was should a murderer be punished if he or she has been pre-disposed genetically to be a murderer. According to Haag the reason for the death penalty would be deterrence. But would this deter any others. Retribution would be gained to the family of the one murdered but this would not stop any other murders. Morris would have to say that the accused has lost moral standing. It is possible that these murderers never had moral standing and so executing them as retribution is fitting because those they hurt have more moral standing than they ever had. Reiman would say we may have a right to execute the criminal for such crimes but do not have a duty.


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